Review: HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 2, Episode 1 – ‘The North Remembers’

Things have picked up almost right where they left off in Westeros… except now there are a few different kings running around the lands culminating into the conflict that is known as the ‘War of the Five Kings’. If you’re wondering who the fifth is, you’ll find out soon enough as the show moves on. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s in the next episode to come.

Obviously…SPOILERS

Our first king is Joffrey who is just the same old little shit head throughout this first episode. He is reveling in his newfound rule and doing whatever he wants to despite his mother’s guiding hand. To complicate things for Joffrey and Cersei, Tyrion has arrived in King’s Landing to execute his father Tywin’s command to be Hand of the King in his absence. Although it was good to see Tyrion back in the show, there wasn’t a whole lot of time spent in the royal capital, which is where the majority of the action and intrigue will take place this season. The same could be said of Jon Snow and the Night’s Watch who are making their way beyond the wall to investigate what the Wildlings are up to. Besides Jon getting reprimanded by Commander Mormont not much happens aside from the character of Craster being introduced. He is the same piss pot many of us know and love from the books, having a pretty liberal brain-mouth filter due to knowing that the Night’s Watch needs him. Even though you know it won’t happen you can’t help but wish Jon Snow would just go and punch him in the mouth.

Robb Stark is still doing a good job of being a bad ass, as he confronts Jaime Lannister in his cell along with his dire wolf Grey Wind. That scene was probably one of the best as Robb set the direwolf loose on Jaime, and I have to commend the crew of Game of Thrones for making the dog look about as big as dire wolf is supposed to be. Robb’s strategy at this point while he is still winning is of course to gain some allies. Theon urges Robb to allow him to go to his father Balon on the Iron Islands, and convince to join with Robb, who sends his mother to the Storm Lands in order to ally with King Renly Baratheon who we don’t get to see in this episode.

The newest portion of the story involves Robert Baratheon’s other brother Stannis, who is portrayed as a very stoic and cold man just as he was in the book. Things with Stannis are black and white and by the book. He doesn’t mess around with words or people as we’ll find out through the season. More interesting is his current advisor in the form of Melisandre, played perfectly by Carice van Houten. Stannis has taken a new god, the Lord of Light, and Melisandre is his priestess. As you’ll see, many of Stannis’s followers aren’t too fond of her, including Maester Cressen who makes the ultimate sacrifice to no avail. Unlike Robb, Stannis doesn’t want or need any allies. His philosophy is “they’ll bend the knee or I’ll destroy them.”, and this includes his little brother Renly. The confrontation between the remaining two Baratheon brothers is something I can’t wait to see play out on screen.

This picture doesn’t really fit in here, but we wanted to use it anyhow.

Daenerys (along with Drogon.) had about six minutes of screen time and her remaining Khalasar is not doing too well. They are short on horses and there is barren wasteland aplenty, into which she sends her blood riders into in order to find a safe haven for them. I expect that the following episodes won’t be so broken up into so many pieces. The show may have to focus on two or three storylines at a time as all of the characters are so scattered at the moment. At one point, the author George R.R. Martin had to write two different books that took place concurrently because there were so many different characters in different locations. It will be interesting to see how they handle that on the show in future seasons. Regardless, this season is off to a great start thus far and looks to only get better from the looks of the preview at the end. Hopefully the next episode deals more with Arya who is still on the road with Yoren and Gendry because she had wayyyyyyyyyyy less screen time with Daenerys. I give the episode 4 out of 5 bears. Even though the whole episode was show of putting the pieces into place for us viewers, it was still excellent and the pay off will be even better starting next week.

And not to mention another Joffrey bitch slap!

Stay tuned!

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